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Ohio Laws Regarding Dog Bites

Ohio Laws Regarding Dog Bites

Dogs have been affectionately referred to as “man’s best friend” for a reason. Their loyal and compassionate spirits make them wonderful companions for families and people of all ages. Many dogs, especially when they are well trained and cared for properly, pose little threat to the safety of others. Every once in a while, even an otherwise friendly dog will bite or attack.

Have you been injured by a dog bite? What should you do when this happens? As a dog bite and personal injury attorney near Cincinnati, Ohio The Richards Firm has handled many dog bite claims and knows the laws on point. Let’s take a look at how Ohio laws regard dog bite injuries.

Ohio Dog Bite Laws

Strict Liability

Section 955.28 of the Ohio Revised Code states that dog owners are “strictly liable” for damages or injuries caused by their animals. This means that a Court can impose liability without a finding of fault. A victim does not have to prove that a dog owner was negligent to seek compensation. Ohio views dogs as an inherent public safety threat. Dog owners, keepers, and harborers have heightened duties. They must take proactive steps to protect innocent people from their animals.

Common Law Negligence

Under Ohio’s common law, an injured victim can also bring a dog bite claim on the basis of negligence, or lack of ordinary care. If a person’s conduct allows the dog to be in the situation to attack, than that person can be determined by a jury to have been negligent.

Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?

Ohio law makes it very clear that dog owners, keepers, and harborers may all bear liability for an attack. In most cases, victims will pursue compensation from a dog owner. A homeowner’s insurance policy is the most common type of insurance covering a dog attack. Though, in some cases, landlords, rental companies, and other commercial entities can also be liable for an attack.

Common Defenses

When it comes to dog bite injuries, there are a few common defenses we see used against victims. Dog owners do have a right to defend the claim and may do so by stating one of these 3 legal defenses allowed under the statute:

  • The victim provoked the dog;
  • The victim was trespassing at the time of the attack; and
  • The victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack.

If any of these legal defenses can apply to a case, then the injured victim may have difficulties recovering any compensation.

For common law dog bite claims, the victim must prove the the defendant owned or harbored the dog, the dog was vicious, the defendant knew of that viciousness, and the defendant was negligent in keeping the dog, so you can anticipate a defense attacking any or all of those elements.

Dog Bite Injuries in Ohio

Because of the complex issues involved in a dog bite case, you need to ensure that you have a lawyer at your side to assist you with pursuing compensation. Call The Richards Firm today to hire a strong advocate to fight for your rights when attacked. As a personal injury attorney in Hamilton, Ohio, We have handled numerous dog bite claims in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area under a myriad of circumstances. We are prepared to address your needs while advocating for you. Call or email us today and schedule your free case consultation.

We can be reached at 513-868-2731, ext. 219 or visit us at

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